The most visual. The most confusing. The most Lynch episode. So far, my favourite episode of Twin Peaks.
I seldom gossip about on-going television shows. It’s all rabid speculation until the series comes to a conclusion and the threads are woven together; if at all. This episode of Twin Peaks was different. I felt compelled to speak about it. I suspect it has had that effect on a lot of people.
Warning: The following article will enter spoiler-valley. So let’s assume you’ve kept up to date on the series, heard of a black lodge and you’re as excited as I am.
The episode was awash with imagery. Powerful imagery.
The beginning of the episode follows on from Evil Cooper’s escape. Naturally he’s been double-crossed and takes two shots to the chest and dies. Minions from another place tear at his torso to reveal the entity known as “Bob” in a blob. Bob in a blob. The gunman’s horrified and flees, like any self-respecting murderer does. The creatures revive evil Cooper. That’s not how you kill an evil spirit, sunshine. Interestingly episode 5 already confirmed that evil Cooper had Bob inside of him. This gave us the opportunity to see Bob free from a host, which comes in handy later.
It appears that Bob merely inhabits the host. Guiding, feeding and corrupting. So, who is this host really? Is he more than just a doppelganger? Will he melt away into nothingness when defeated? Perhaps leave behind a small lump of gold like poor ol’ Dougie “Decoy” Jones. I’m excited to find out.
We reach the most interesting sequences of Twin Peaks with the introduction of one of humanity’s darkest chapter. The creation of the world ending nuclear bomb. Hiroshima and Nagasaki felt the full force of this disastrous weapon on the 6th and 9th of August 1945. The nuclear test happened on the 16th of July 1945 and was a real event. This was the first test of a nuclear weapon, here’s a short clip.
The mushroom cloud reminded me of the head in the black lodge. Or the evolved head “thing” from the other place. A thin stem with a bulbous pulsating head.
We draft into the mushroom cloud itself.
Vivid imagery entertains us. The vortex goes to other places, the light show begins. Hints of sperm. Beginnings of life? Flashes with time jumbled up. A close up of insects, or even nails; for some reason it reminded me of locusts. Joey Jo Jo sees water. Damn rorschach test. Explosions. Worlds opening to other places?
It would be cheap for anyone to reference Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, as that would be utterly superficial. It feels like all the answers are contained within this jumble. Thick black corrupting smoke envelopes the scene and fades as a convenience store comes into shot. Time is utterly distorted. Smoke billows from within, spilling out onto the world.
It’s within the era of the nuclear test. Time continues to ruin the shot, windows appear damaged and not. The music stops and vagrants congregate outside, out of time. Their shadows burnt onto the side of the building, like they had been vaporised. Could these have been real people at the time of the nuclear test? Unfortunately America has history of human experimentation with nuclear weapons. John Pilger’s documentary the “Coming War on China” references the Marshall Island with crippling sadness. No really, they tested the affects of nuclear materials on real life people. A simpler reason could be that the convenience store could just be another, another place, and these inhabitants were freed by the nuclear explosion. But for now, let’s go with the government nuking the homeless for research’s sake. We can always change our mind later.
A female creature vomits in a vacuum. Within this bile appears to be eggs and the dark spirit Bob. Bile Bob in a blob. Many dark spirits could have spilled forth from this vomit. Does the female creature reside within the store? Is she outside of our reality feeding malevolent spirits our way? A creature taking interest in our newly discovered ingenious power? At this point, it’s all guesswork. The vagrants, Bob and his mother are all interconnected by a nuclear jumpstart. How nefarious was this test? That’s up to you. Is the female creature a victim of the nuclear destruction? She could be the mother of the black lodge for all I know. She could be alien. Go wild with the ideas on this one.
A nuclear weapon is the first instance of terrific human evil mixed up with a genuine world ending power. To twist the world. To unleash corruption on the land. Something that you cannot put back? A thing that could summon evil. A cancerous force, much like Bob himself. A creature that uses influences peoples inherit darkness for its own gain.
Fire and destruction give way to a gold blob. We’ve seen variations of this before. Normally they signify a good thing. Cooper’s doppelganger Dougie crumbled into a tiny lump of gold metal. Could this be a rare resource of the cataclysm. A resource that allows you to create doppelgangers? To harness dark powers?
Sidenote 1 – It’s refreshing to watch a show this isn’t so keen to treat its audience as an impatient cat. Twin Peaks doesn’t live in the fear that you’ll switch over, unless the required amount of witty lines are shoved down your throat every 2 minutes. The pace allows you to soak everything in. When things do happen, it’s all the more jarring and disturbing. You seldom see that on television anymore.
Beyond the nuclear explosion we revisit the limbo-like watching area. It’s in black and white… ah-ha, we are still in the past! In the present day good Cooper used this very place to escape back into our reality. A place between worlds. An alarm breaks the serene environment and the Giant answers the call. Racing at the very fastest speed, he bolts to the fancy hi-def family home theatre / monitor room to watch the nuclear events. Being a giant he levitates high into the air extracting a gold orb from his head, like you do. Yes, a golden resource.
A golden ray of hope comes in the form of Laura Palmer. The person that fought the inner darkness and chose sacrifice to protect us all (like some other historical chap). Do the watchers in neutral space influence and protect our world from otherworldly calamities? If so, they’d make for an excellent Saturday morning cartoon superhero team. As Laura was born on the 22nd of July 1971, this means one of two things. Laura is an entity much like Bob, or they are influencing or empowering Laura’s future, which I prefer. (Look guys, there is always a third way).
Time has no relevance in limbo? Then why is it in black and white.
Laura’s good entity feels cheesy and let’s face it, she did some pretty sketchy things. It’s likely that they will instil a strength into unborn Laura, to resist the corrupting influence to come. Maybe her martyrdom changed her into a power for good. She could be free from times restraints, to be summoned when needed in time and space. Doesn’t explain how she got old in the lodge. No doubt she will be the key to ending this otherworldly evil, or to bring about balance in the never ending battle of humanity’s soul. Hey, with regards to this point. Who knows?
11 years later from the nuclear explosion an egg bursts in the New Mexico desert. Similar to one of the eggs spewed with Bob. The creature looks like a mix of a frog-moth and the first fish to attempt landfall. We see a very similar convenience store to the one within the nuclear imagery. The one with the time-savvy vagrants outside. The young couple look like any young couple. Maybe it’s the case of being at the wrong place at the wrong shack… Maybe not.
Sidenote 2 – The arm, or The Man from Another Place, spent the entire show helping Cooper… and look where that got him. Trapped for 25 years. The moral of the story is, never listen to anyone.
The otherworldly vagrants enter the scene and do what all spirit bums do. They cause a stink and ask for a light. The smoke and lightning riff on their nuclear appearance. They spread their influence using the radio airwaves to knock out all those that hear their rotten poem. All of this to allow for the egg spirits hatchling to enter the unconscious young lady. All the dark creatures working in unison to bring about folly. That’s some fine teamwork, unless they’re all a bunch of opportunistic bastards. If Bob is a spiritual entity, is this the physical counterpart? They do share the same origins. Indeed Cooper and his doppelganger have had a few fantastically mutual gross puke moments. Could this young lady be Laura Palmer’s grandmother? Her mother was born in, you guessed it, 1945. Of course, she could just an unlucky recipient. The first person gifted with the corrupting influence within Twin Peaks.
What an episode. Yes, certainly the most baffling, but also the most revealing.
The Bang Bang bar is fantastic. The show uses the bar to introduce a fantastic music act, before the shows credits lazily appear. A good way to end proceedings, and to soak in what happened. Quirky, but with purpose… I had been conditioned. The fifth episode tricked me into thinking the show had already finished! The music started 10 minutes earlier than normal. Damn your tricksy ways Lynch! Time becomes elusive whilst watching Twin Peaks – please see sidenote 1. The tone of the music changes. At the start of the season the bands are light, pleasant or rocking. This continues into episode 7. Amidst the instrumental backdrop of Green Onions by Booker T and The M.G’s. we discover the barman/proprietor is a corrupt pimp dealing in underage kids and member of the Renault family. By the eighth episode Nine Inch Nails take to the stage, close to the beginning of the episode, just before the evil Cooper’s revived and the mushroom cloud sequence begins. The song is cruel and mocking. We have passed the point of no return. A place of superficial joy has been corrupted. This small snippet is like a representation of Twin Peaks as a whole? If the music normally signifies the end of an episode, what does this mean for the rest of the episode! Hell, the season. Dark times are afoot. Well, let’s hope good Cooper can do something about that.
Duality, black and white, double-lives. Good and evil Dale Cooper… Just another day in Twin Peaks.
Thanks for wading through these words and remember. This could all be bollocks. That’s why Lynch excites!